The Spalding County District Attorney’s Office completed a trial week with the Honorable Christopher Edwards this week. There were 140 cases on the calendar. The office disposed of 103 cases. In total, defendants that committed crimes in Spalding County were sentenced to 164 years on probation and 40 years in confinement in prison.
Timothy Nolton pled guilty to Criminal Damage to Property in the First Degree. He was sentenced to 10 years to serve in prison. Nolton pled guilty to driving his vehicle into an electric power pole which was property of the Griffin Electrical Department. The incident occurred on October 29, 2014.
Christopher Jones pled guilty to Aggravated Assault. He was sentenced to 8 years with the first three years to serve in prison. Jones pled guilty to choking his then girlfriend. Jones also pled guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana.
Marvin Thomas pled guilty to Theft by Taking. He was sentenced to 5 years to serve. He pled guilty to taking four tractors and four lawn mowers from Tennessee Steal Haulers on March 14, 2014. He is currently serving an unrelated prison sentence in Coffee County Correctional Facility.
Joshua Alexander pled guilty to two counts of Felony Obstruction of an Officer. He was sentenced to 7 years to serve.
Assistant District Attorney Donna GoPaul worked persistently on this calendar. District Attorney Benjamin Coker said of the week: “ADA GoPaul had a difficult challenge of clearing some of the older cases in our office that she inherited when she started in January. She took on the task of moving those older cases, and I’m extremely proud of the work that she has done. My goal is to work to eliminate the backlog of cases in my office, and ADA GoPaul helped work towards accomplishing that task this week.”
This week, the Upson County District Attorney’s Office completed a trial week with the Honorable Mac Crawford. There were 88 cases on the calendar. The office disposed of 64 cases. In total, defendants that committed crimes in Upson County were sentenced to 1,607 months of probation and 32 years in confinement in prison.
Dustin Lee Cain pled guilty to Serious Injury by Vehicle, Driving under the Influence, and Driving While his License was Suspended. He was sentenced to 15 years with the first 7 years to be served in prison. Cain pled guilty to driving a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, diazepam, nordiazepam, alprazolam, hydrododone, methamphetamine and mirtazapine and causing an accident on Highway 74 in Upson County. The incident occurred on June 23, 2016. Peggy Dianne Buttrum was seriously injured in the accident and sustained injuries to her feet, knee, hip, pelvis and spine. Ms. Buttrum’s family gave a victim impact statement at the plea.
William Gunn pled guilty to two counts Felony Obstruction of an Officer and received 10 years with the first 3 years to be served in prison. Gunn pled guilty to striking Officer Kenneth Gore in the Upson County Jail in the face, chest, and stomach. The incident occurred July 14, 2016.
Tyler Ford pled guilty to Aggravated Assault and was sentenced to 20 years with the first 3 years to serve in prison. Ford pled guilty to an incident occurring on March 24, 2016. The victim in the case was Ford’s mother.
Drell Donald Goodman pled guilty to Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute. He was sentenced to 15 years with the first 8 years to be served in prison.
Assistant District Attorneys Mark Irvin, Michael Rogers, and Ashton Fallin worked tirelessly to prepare the cases on the calendar. District Attorney Benjamin Coker handled the calendar call. District Attorney Coker said of the week: “The resolutions to these cases were the result of my hard-working staff. I am always proud of their professionalism and dedication to keeping Upson County safe.”
The Fayette County District Attorney’s Office is in the middle of a two week trial term presided over by the Honorable W. Fletcher Sams. Several notable pleas were entered.
William Bradford pled guilty to Armed Robbery, three counts of Aggravated Assault, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. He was sentenced to 41 years with the first 21 years to be spent in prison. He was banished from the Griffin Judicial Circuit. Bradford pled guilty to robbing the PNC Bank in Fayetteville.
Marcia Annette Demarcus pled guilty to Homicide by Vehicle in the First Degree, Hit and Run, Possession of a Schedule IV drug, Reckless Driving, and Possession of Drug Related Objections. She was sentenced to 30 years with the first 15 years to be served in prison. Demarcus pled guilty to driving while under the influence of clonazepam, cocaine, morphine, and benzolecgonine and striking two people with her vehicle. One victim, a 16 year old girl, Caelyn Olds, was passing out flyers with church members when Demarcus’s vehicle struck and killed her. Another victim, Linda Long, suffered serious injuries after also being struck by the vehicle.
Johntavis Bailey pled guilty to Smash and Grab Burglary, Theft by Receiving Stolen Property, Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Officers, Use of a License Plate to Conceal Identity, and Obstruction of an Officer. He was sentenced to 25 years with the first 20 years to be served in prison. He pled guilty to backing a stolen car into Simply Mac in Peachtree City and engaging officers in a high speed chase after the burglary. Three co-defendants have cases still pending on the trial calendar.
Christopher Crane pled guilty to Child Molestation for acts involving a 15 year old victim. He was sentenced to 20 years with the first 10 to be served in prison.
Assistant District Attorneys Michele McCutcheon and Warren Sellers have been diligently working on the calendar. Trials will resume tomorrow, May 24th.
How do you truly thank a hero? How do you say thank you for the nights spent away from family responding to calls? How do you say thank you for taking care of the car wrecks, the violence, and the horrors that we don't have to see? Is there any way to repay them for sacrificing so much to keep us safe each day? The answer is no. There is nothing we could ever do to adequately say thank you. But sometimes, a simple act of kindness scratches the surface of what our law enforcement deserves.
I was greatly honored to serve food to the law enforcement of our Judicial Circuit for law enforcement appreciation week. My offices in Fayette, Spalding, Pike, and Upson Counties provided hamburgers and hot dogs to law enforcement in each county throughout the week. In all, we served over 350 law enforcement officers a hot lunch. It wasn't much, but it was the least we could do to say thank you to these real-life heroes in uniform.
Thank you to my amazing staff who understood the importance of what we were doing. Thank you to the citizens for your support. Most of all, thank you to the law enforcement officers in this circuit, and across this Country. Thank you for wearing that uniform every day. Thank you for fighting. Thank you for caring. Thank you for protecting us. Citizens, please, thank a law enforcement officer today. Trust me, they don't hear thank you enough.
Benjamin D. Coker
Griffin Judicial Circuit